Draggin’ for Toys 2011

I’d been looking forward to it all year, so I was excited to leave the house Saturday morning to photograph the Draggin’ for Toys charity race, held at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. I’ve photographed the event for the past couple of years, and there are always a few feature-worthy cars at the race, so I never actually have a chance to run my own car. I still like to drive it to the event to support the cause, but running it is out of the question when I’m shooting features, and racing coverage all day. So, this year marked the 10th Draggin’ for Toys event, which is quite impressive based on the fact that it is organized and promoted by volunteers. Unfortunately, the list of volunteers has shrunk in the past few years, so I stepped in to help market the event and draw a big crowd.

Draggin' for Toys

Draggin' for Toys always brings out a great deal of FAST street cars, like this turbocharged Mustang, which ran deep into the 6's.


Draggin' for Toys

The pits were absolutely packed with very cool street cars, drag cars and even a few diesel trucks.

Draggin for Toys

The Brainerd crew assembled for a group photo on their last day at the track.

Throughout the years, Street Car Forums has been the main source of advertising for the event, since Roy Johnson Jr. runs the forum and promotes the event. This year’s downtime and numerous problems with the site created an issue with getting the word out, so I chose other methods of internet marketing. I blasted other forums with updates about the race, and I also created a Facebook fan page for the event, since Facebook seemed to pick up some of the slack left behind during the SCF downtime. Obviously, I can’t take all the credit for the enormous crowd of racers and spectators that attended DFT10, but it definitely felt good to know that I at least helped make the event a success.

Draggin for Toys

Ryan Miller from Injected Engineering does a big burnout in his wickedly fast, supercharged Mustang. He runs mid-6's with a 6-speed manual transmission!

Draggin' for Toys

With stock suspension, 9-inch slicks and basically stock 6.0 on the bottle, Shannon Medley's '55 Chevy totes the wheels nicely on its way to a 6.26 pass.

Draggin' for Toys

Monza Sneed poured the coals to his big block-powered Corvette, and it resulted in a wild wheelstand. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to continue racing due to a damaged oil pan.

As we made our way to the track, I explained to Christina (my wife, in case you didn’t know) that this really was my favorite event of the year, and I don’t think she it clicked with her. She’s seen pictures from the event, and heard me talk about it before, but she didn’t get a grasp until she walked through the pits with me. There were cars that we’ve never seen before, and may never see again–real street cars, not just a bunch of racecars. Turbo cars, supercharged cars, nitrous cars and crazy diesel trucks. The pits were packed, and folks kept rolling in until it was time to go racing at 1pm. Time runs would last for more than an hour, and most of the car made at least one pass during this time.

Draggin' for Toys

Scott in the turbo LSX-powered 240 narrowly escapes a full-on spinout by Travis Burney in the purple S-10.

Draggin' for Toys

As I panned to grab a few shots of the 240, I could hear tires squealing and a collective gasp from the spectators.

Draggin' for Toys

Travis slides to a stop in his Big Chief big block S-10 and missed the guard rail by no more than six inches.

Then it was onto eliminations in the 14 different classes, one of which was sponsored by Byrd Photography! Yep, that’s right, I sponsored the Naturally Aspirated Street Heat class. Throughout the course of the day I saw (and photographed) some wild action, including a complete spinout by Travis Burney in his nitrous-fed big block S-10, a bumper draggin’ and oil pan smashin’ wheelstand by Monza Sneed in a killer Corvette, and another big wheelstand by Billy Smith at the end of the night. It was the most exciting racing I’d seen all year at Brainerd Drag Strip, so I was pleased to have a camera in hand to capture most of the action. Take a look at my photos, and please LIKE the Draggin’ for Toys Facebook page if you haven’t already. Great racing for a good cause!

Draggin' for Toys

I love American cars, but there were some killer cars entered into the Import class, including this parachute-sporting Subaru.

Draggin' for Toys

I did a full photo shoot on this beautifully detailed '66 Chevelle Super Sport. It has a SB2 with a fogger and runs way down in the 5's.

Draggin' for Toys

It's hard to beat the looks of these '97-02 Viper GTS coupes. This one has turbos and it's very fast.

Draggin' for Toys

Not one of my typical shots, but the colors and lighting really worked out nicely, so it's one of my favorites from DFT.

Draggin' for Toys

I love it when Billy Smith turns up the wick and goes for it toward the end of the night. This is what happens...

Draggin' for Toys

Certainly not my best photograph, but I was just happy to get the shot! Billy Smith on the bumper at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip

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